Stones and leaves
The first seed, regarding comparison, the Lord placed in my heart during the summer of 1998 on the shores of Puget Sound in Washington state. As I walked around an island I was struck by the contrasting beauty of the stones at my feet. I stopped to pick up one rock that was a warm yellow color. But as I bent close to reach for it I noticed the other stones. They all were unique with textures and colors. All so captivatingly beautiful in their own unique way!
It was at this time that God really began opening my eyes to His truths throughout all of creation. I realized that some people have bright splashy, upfront personalities that God uses to reach and keep the attention of crowds (yellow). Others are better at listening (blue) and expressing the peacefulness of God. While often God needs a (red) personality to boldly state the truth. Then of course there are the (orange) people who ooze warmth and joy. And often there are individuals that have different colors scattered within their makeup. Each glorifies God differently. Each color “stone” has a part to play and the contrast of our gifting and personalities hold a purpose! Don’t compare yourself to others! We are the most full of God’s power, most beautiful and most amazing when we are ourselves!
Another thing we tend to compare is the “seasons” God has us in. We are all in different seasons of life. Springtime doesn’t mean God loves you more than during the more difficult seasons. Just because your neighbor is in summer doesn’t mean they are more favored or loved by God. I personally love fall. It is easy to embrace fall with it’s colors and crisp air! To me it is so cool how when we are connected to God, just like leaves connected to a tree, we turn brilliant colors of orange, yellow and red even after cold nights. I can “hang” with that crisp cold as long as the colors are showing in my spiritual life. I love to glorify God!
But then the winds blow and we are too weak to hold on. It may even feel awesome for a while as we fall from the tree floating and dancing about in the Spirit’s wind. Then we sit still, forgotten on the cold floor of life. Passed by others or even trampled on as they look ahead or upwards. What God wants us to embrace is the beauty of dieing to ourselves and the opinions and attention of people. Can you see this powerful truth declared to us in nature?
One leaf... many leaves... dead on the forest floor. They have a purpose! Life hidden in death! An astounding law of nature... a merciful act of God! Those of us who live for Christ and then embrace God even when He allows or choses to bring winter seasons are actually silently becoming vessels of life! When mass amounts of once “alive” leaves “die” they nourish the seeds (also dead) below the surface. Wow! I think that’s awesome! Astounding when you think about it! When we surrender completely spiritual power is released. It’s an amazing and unfathomable force! The life of Christ is connected to His death. And winter reminds us of that truth! Springs easy and summer isn’t so bad. But can you embrace the fall and winter that represents God’s desire for us to die to our own will just like Jesus did? Can we embrace it even if it takes us down a path we didn’t choose or expect like Peter?
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain!” Philippians 1:21
“From Him the whole body joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Ephesians 4:16
... the third time Jesus said to Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him a third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want ot go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then He said to Peter, “Follow me!” Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered Peter, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”